[extropy-chat] Re Fight for Evolution?

Pete Bertine pkbertine at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 3 14:55:29 UTC 2006


I'm not sure if we should take this off list or not, but I'm certain that
there are a few out there who enjoy me getting put in my place.  I have, by
the way, declared Crocker's Rules on sl4.org, so none should worry about
hurting my feelings.  My rough edges will only be honed but I won't go away.

I knew you'd get me on the last paragraph.  It was late and I was trying to
sleep after an exciting www.svn.org meeting.  I concede the point to you, I
am an obnoxious little prick sometimes and in the end a person's worth isn't
decided by their knowledge of cell phone technology or automotive experience
but by how much money they make.

However, I bristle when you say I didn't try.  "Aptitude" is a quick way to
say that I was a very difficult student.  I began an obvious (by today's
mental health standards) 6 month bipolar cycle in the seventh grade and had
been hyperactive since birth; I should have been on Ritalin and lithium by
age 12.  In the seventh grade I experienced the first onset of hypomania
followed by a deep clinical depression. During the few months of the year
when I had a tenuous balance I excelled in school.  Luckily my reading
skills were such that I could devour books when I was depressed and socially
withdrawn.  Unfortunately, during the clinical depression I wasn't
predisposed toward trigonometry, when I was hypomanic all I wanted to do was
chase skirts. 

Mental health in the 1980's was primitive compared to the early and later
90's.  I wasn't diagnosed with bipolar until I was 20. Unfortunately, I had
been much influenced by Dianetics and popular UFO Cult mythology.  I didn't
become medicated until I was 24.  

Amara, if you think I'm annoying now, picture me back then.  During rapid
cycle bipolar one goes from a state of stuporific depression that can be
misdiagnosed as retardation (not unlike what the Ape People in Turkey
probably go through), to a state of euphoria that at first is very charming
and a period of great creativity... followed by complete mental breakdown.

To make a very long story shorter, a medication, Geodon, was finally
released for use to treat bipolar in August 2004.  This medicine cleared my
mind.  I was able to put the enormous energy that had been required to fight
mood swings to actual use and I "remade" myself.

Now at the age of 37, you would be able to teach me expressions that have
more than 2 variables. At 27 or 17 you wouldn't want me anywhere near your
daughter much less sitting in a classroom with you.  However, it wasn't the
magic pills that made me into a functioning human being, it was a constant
desire to learn and make myself better.  I was forever *trying* to excel,
unfortunately, my body failed me.

So, in a very real sense, I am Transhuman.  I'm certainly heavily augmented
by science and technology.  300 mg of Depakote, 75 mg of Effexor, 40 mg of
Geodon, 1mg of Proscar, up to 3 mg of clonazepam (usually only 1mg) for
anxiety, some wine and a beer every now and again... and with the help of my
doctor I manage to stay in a steady state just below hypomania.  This
incredible cocktail has taken an enormous amount of *trying* and time.

I have changed the environment of my mind so that I can successfully control
the environment around me.  I believe that it can be argued that humanity
has become successful as a species because it learned to control the
environment, to subdue nature.  I see around me multitudes who have no idea
how the artificial and natural environment around them works.  I have no
patience for them. *They* aren't trying.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Amara Graps
> Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 6:43 AM
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Subject: [extropy-chat] Re Fight for Evolution?
> Pete Bertine pkbertine at hotmail.com :
> >My love of reading and writing was all consuming and I poured over
> >advanced theory in physics from an early age, trying to make sense of
> >the math. Again, sadly, I possessed no aptitude for mathematics.
> "aptitude.." ? Did you try?
> I failed calculus twice when I was 17 and 18. On the third time, with
> a good teacher, I got As and Bs. Again for differential equations and
> partial differential equations, I failed in the beginning. Again with
> hard work and a good teacher I got As.
> Sorry, but I don't buy the argument that one can't do math.
> You didn't try.
> Most of my Study Abroad students age 18-22 did not know how to
> manipulate powers, or understand trigonometry, or use the ln, exp
> functions on their calculators (and understand what it meant).
> Expressions that had more then two variables gave them big headaches.
> The first time I gave them a problem to calculate their weight on
> Mars, they got it wrong. The second time I gave them a problem to
> calculate their weight on Venus, 2/3 got it right. The third time I
> gave them a problem to calculate their weight on a neutron star, they
> all got it right.
> >Part of the function of a rational mind is a desire to understand and
> >control the environment around it.
> "control" the environment?
> >I consider a man to be inferior if he doesn't know how many cylinders
> >his car engine has and a woman quaint if she thinks her $100 cell
> >phone can blast a signal up to a satellite.  I judge people by some
> >basic standards I have set up. I find very few people who reach those
> >standards.
> You are not going to convince people by insulting them.
> Amara
> --
> Amara Graps, PhD
> Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario (IFSI)
> Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF),
> Adjunct Assistant Professor Astronomy, AUR,
> Roma, ITALIA    Amara.Graps at ifsi-roma.inaf.it
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